A prominent part of the businesses in Rochester village, the Rochester Hardware is currently undergoing some changes.
Dave Harvey has been a co-owner of that business since his father and step-mother, Marvin and Barbara Harvey, purchased it in 2003. Several months ago, when Marvin bowed out of the business, Dave became the sole owner.
The store is managed by his wife, Patty, with help from the new fulltime assistant manager, Zach Cavacas, who came on board in September. Patty’s son, Dillon Dudley, is also working there two days a week, joining three other part-time staff members—Jerry LeBlond, Jakey Twitchell, and Doreen Frye.
“We’ve been renovating the back room area, giving that a facelift to make it seem more like it’s a part of the store,” Dave explained. “We’re planning to add a checkout at the back of the store, in addition to the one by the front door, to give our customers faster service.”
“We’ve also added lumber, wood pellets, and a larger toy selection,” Patty noted.
“I’ve been spearheading the renovation and getting new products in,” Dave said. “I’m also the go-to guy for deliveries.”
The store will continue to be open seven days a week—Monday- Friday from 7 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; and Sunday, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Obviously good at multi-tasking, Patty and Dave each run their own businesses—Patty has the realty firm, XSell LLC; and Dave runs Xcav8. They also run Hawk North Property Management, and always work on the sales floor at the hardware one weekend each month, so that the regular staff can have that time off.
“The hardware business is a good complement to our other businesses,” Patty pointed out. “Buying local helps keep our town alive. We hope to continue to grow and look forward to customer suggestions about what we should offer.”
In 2006, The Hardware at Rochester was recognized with a Centennial Business Award by the Vermont Secretary of State, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and the Vermont Business Magazine.
An article in that publication at the time of the award highlighted the history of the hardware business, which was an outgrowth of Julius Eaton’s tin shop, and was purchased in 1880 by Wallace H. Campbell and Frank L. Martin.
The hardware building that stands today was built around 1890, and five years later, Wallace Campbell and George Greeley purchased the firm. George A. Campbell joined the firm in 1914 and the name changed to Campbell, Greeley & Co. After Greeley died in 1919, Edward S. French became a partner, and the business reorganized again, becoming W.H. Campbell & Co.
W.H. Campbell & Co. became the largest plumbing and heating business in the upper White River Valley, and also sold furniture, glassware, and household appliances. During the Christmas season, the ground floor was a busy place for gift buying, and the company also served the community as funeral directors.
The hardware stocked all kinds of goods for farm and mill work, doing a thriving business when sawmills were active in the valley and there were many loggers and pulp cutters around. The tin shop also made all kinds of kitchen tools.
In addition to the hardware store, the block has, at various times, housed the Rochester Public Library, the town clerk’s office, the E.H. Edgerton law office, Carl Eaton’s meat market, the Rochester Post Office, Jeanne’s Beauty Shop, the Every Day Shop, barbershops owned by Gram Huntington, Bud Severy, Leon Wyman and Packy West; a laundromat, and the Rochester District Forest Ranger office of the Green Mountain National Forest.
The Campbell family sold the business to Ed Sargent in 1961, and it was later owned by Steve Sargent, and then Saul and Dorothy Glogover, before being purchased by Marvin and Barbara Harvey in 2003.
This first appeared in the Herald of Randolph Jan. 12, 2017 with the headline, "Historic Rochester Hardware is Making Some Changes."